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    Beyond Discounts: 10 Creative Ways To Drive Black Friday and Holiday Ecommerce Sales

    13 minute read
    Beyond Discounts: 10 Creative Ways To Drive Black Friday and Holiday Ecommerce Sales

    The time is nigh to get excited about the holidays (and, for some, that time is year-round). However, excitement and stress often go hand-in-hand. 

    While checking this list of creative ways to drive Black Friday and holiday ecommerce sales can’t help you hone your turkey-frying skills or reach any of your other personal holiday goals, it will help brands get a good handle on how to capture more sales this holiday season. 

    What Is Holiday Ecommerce?

    Holiday ecommerce is the special type of online and/or hybrid shopping experiences and transactions that occur during the holiday shopping season — consisting of a set ecommerce holiday dates that run from the end of October through the end of December each year.

    Holiday ecommerce generally mirrors the excitement and cheer of this time of year, and often features steeper discounts, limited edition products, and other perks with purchases. Explore some of the best ways to capture more customers through ecommerce on Black Friday and beyond.

    1. Connect To Audiences With Influencer Campaigns

    There’s no better time than the holidays, particularly during Black Friday social media campaigns, to tap into influencer marketing — even if your brand has never done it before. 

    It’s not unlikely that conversations on holiday shopping plans everywhere might sound a bit like, “My friend — well, OK, an influencer I follow — posted this really cool gift idea.” 

    Shoppers love recommendations from influencers — micro, macro, and everywhere in between. In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations, while only 38% trust brand-produced content.

    Some example ideas for how to partner with an influencer include:

    • An unboxing video of one of your gift-wrapped items;
    • An exclusive product collaboration; or
    • A discount code for fans of that influencer in a video supporting your brand.

    2. Give Exclusive ‘Early Bird’ Access

    Providing early access to sales or exclusive product catalogs to your customers will make them feel distinguished — especially if you stand out in their inbox with strong email marketing campaigns or Black Friday marketing campaigns this season. 

    Loyalty programs that provide incentives, like early bird access to sales, are a big hit with consumers. In a report from PYMNTS, 75% of consumers in loyalty programs will buy more products from the companies they partner with.

    3. Produce Limited Edition Gifts and Products

    There’s a reason why pumpkin spice everything garners so much attention. (Even when it’s bad, it’s also kind of good.) Consumers love it when companies put in effort to celebrate the season creatively.

    Whether your brand wants to get into the spirit of the season, collaborate with other organizations or influencers, or just have a good reason to beta-test your product offering, limited edition gifts and products are the perfect avenue for all of the above.

    And, most importantly, scarcity sells, per LinkedIn. Those who already follow your brand likely don’t want to miss out on a unique experience, and new adopters may want to join in on the fun, too.

    4. Create Hype With Contests and Giveaways

    The holidays are peak time for giving, after all. Why not offload some of your products with an interactive contest or giveaway?

    Be mindful, however, of following platform-specific rules if you’re running a contest on social media. Rules aside, giveaways can be some of the best ways to create hype, expand your reach, and establish yourself as a brand that appreciates its customers.

    Some example ideas for contests, giveaways, and finding winners are:

    5. Get Playful With Gamification

    Do you think holiday ecommerce is a game? Well, it could be. Flat, two-dimensional messaging might not induce excitement among your creative teams as they plan their holiday strategy. And, if that’s the case, the same will be true among your customers.

    But you don’t have to hurry up and hire an in-house game designer to make gamification possible for your brand this holiday season. A quick search can yield agencies and freelancers ready for the task. 

    It’s not about creating an entire multiverse with your brand’s products — some of the simplest games with the user in mind can be incredibly addictive, especially if you offer compelling prizes like discounts or merchandise. 

    Consider a digital advent calendar that can drive traffic to your website daily as consumers uncover each “prize,” or, go even simpler, with a festive spin-the-wheel offering.

    6. Offer Personalized Recommendations

    According to McKinsey & Company, companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue than those that are average at it. And Salsify’s “2022 Consumer Research” report found that 70% of U.S. shoppers are more likely to buy if they encounter personally relevant images, videos, text, and reviews on a product page. 

    Although personalized recommendations may sound labor-intensive, they’re generally easy to automate, especially with artificial intelligence (AI). 

    You can easily send out product recommendations via email based on a customer’s viewing or purchase history. Or, you can allow consumers to find them right along product listings or cart details based on other items on the page.

    Effective personalization all comes down to the data you’re able to collect from customers and how you choose to leverage it. 

    7. Help Out With Holiday Gift Guides

    Holiday gift guides are great opportunities to leverage some of your search engine optimization (SEO) prowess if you do your research. 

    Would your products make great “gifts for dad”? What about “gifts for teachers”? Consumers are often searching with these phrases, but you can nail down which ones would suit your brand best with some digging.

    Be creative — and strategic — as to what guides and categories you build on your website. Consider sending out notifications to customers with updates, reminders, or special offers.

    If you experience success with your guides, ask your customers for feedback: Do they think your suggestion made a great gift? How much did the recipient enjoy it? These insights can inform your gift guide creation in subsequent seasons.

    8. Run Virtual Events

    Virtual events, such as live stream shopping, aren’t exclusive to couch-dozers, haunted by the glow of home shopping network models slinging frying pans and brooches at 2 a.m. — it’s a highly modern, engaging way to connect with audiences and demo items in real time. 

    Per Statista, live stream ecommerce shopping jumped from $5 billion to $17 billion from 2020 to 2022 and is expected to reach $55 billion by 2026. 

    Virtual events may not make sense for all verticals or brands whose demographics lean older. But they’re a big hit among younger generations, and these generations will age, too. 

    You can easily find Generation Z, millennials, and Generation X on social media sites that make live shopping events easy to host. 

    Products like skincare, makeup, clothing, shoes, and accessories — or anything that can benefit from a “how-to” video can make for a great feature on a virtual shopping event. You can include links to products right in the video to limit confusion and speed up the buying process.

    9. Play Up Personalized Shopping Experiences

    Similar to virtual events, personalized shopping experiences can also drive more ecommerce holiday sales. 

    Some shoppers value extra care, attention, and opinion when it comes to buying gifts for loved ones, and these experiences don’t have to be limited to shopping in-store. 

    For example, you can survey consumers on what kinds of products they would like to see demonstrated on a live video or even send them an invite to a shopping event related to a past purchase. Or, you can have a curated list of recommendations sent to shoppers directly based on the preferences saved in their customer profile.

    You can highlight personalized shopping experiences during the holidays on your direct-to-consumer (DTC) site or mobile app and facilitate one-on-one interactions with sales representatives, influencers, or other brand ambassadors. If they work well, they can even become part of your permanent offering.

    10. Spread Cheer With Free Gifts or Bonuses

    A gift or a bonus with a purchase? You shouldn’t have! (No, but really, you should.) 

    Shoppers will love added items tagging along in their orders. You’ll help them take care of those lingering gifts they need to thank delivery people or teachers, for stocking stuffers, or as Hanukkah gifts. 

    You don’t have to go overboard with the expense of the item, either. Have too much inventory of something? Discontinuing a scent, flavor, or color? These items will make a perfect free gift or bonus.

    ‘Holla’ for Holiday Ecommerce

    The holidays are practically here — and if you’re reading this on January 3, it’s never too early to start planning for next year. 

    Exploring these creative strategies for connecting with audiences pre-Black Friday and beyond can nearly guarantee holiday ecommerce success. 


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    Complete Guide To Building Winning Shopping Experiences

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    Written by: Yvonne Bertovich

    Yvonne Bertovich (she/her) is an editor and writer at Salsify, reporting from Knoxville, Tennessee. With a longtime passion for research, she enjoys flexing her perspective on ecommerce, trends in consumer behavior, and health and wellness.

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